16 The following tips and information will help you guide and support your child through the middle school years. Understand the many types of changes Middle schoolers can challenge and frustrate even the most patient and caring parents, but when parents take a look at all the changes middle schoolers are going through, it’s much easier to understand why they act the way they do. Physical Most students change a great deal physically during middle school. Because students mature at such different rates, middle school students come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. When children go through puberty, they often feel self-conscious and embarrassed by the things their bodies are doing. Middle schoolers find that different parts of their bodies sometimes grow and change at differ- ent times and at different rates. A young person’s arms, legs, or nose, for example, may all of a sudden seem out of proportion. Of course, this all happens at a time when students are very concerned about their appear- ance. With their growing bodies and emerging hormones, middle school students sometimes feel tired, achy, and just plain cranky. Parents can help their children develop a positive self-image by u reassuring them that the changes they’re going through are normal u teaching them about personal hygiene u helping them choose clothes that are flattering and in style Provide Support and Guidance Most importantly, parents should just keep reassuring their children that they look great.